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Amongst all the commemorations to honour war dead one thing that makes me sad at this time of year is that there is too little said about those who died subsequently, as a direct result of the wounds they received in the line of war time service to King and Country.

This is my Uncle John. Despite his youth he signed up, in 1916, and became a runner, – a messenger boy carrying vital messages between trenches.


One terrible day a smallish pieces of shrapnel penetrated his tin helmet and lodged in his skull where it stayed, unable to be removed, because battlefield medical science was in it’s infancy.

For many years it remained, covered by a silver plate, until, with some sort of cruel inevitability it migrated, the resultant pressure robbing him of his sight, a final act of cruelty, that finished his career in retail, Despite his wound, he attained the rank of store manager at the Coop on Long Lane in , a short distance from his family home

Now I am over 70 I may well be the last person to remember John Middleton who was an unsung hero the like of which we may never see again. His generation faced the overwhelming adversity of the Great War with patience and a stoic resolution that was peculiar to those who grew up during the dawn of the 20th century.

 I am writing this so as create a permanent record of my uncle Even though I never met him personally, his sisters, my mother and my aunts, frequently spoke of John with a fondness that was deeply touching. Frequently recalling such harrowing incidents as his own mother cradling his head on her lap when the headaches, brought on my a foreign object lodged in his skull, became too intolerable

He may not have died in the mud of the trenches but his suffering was no less abiding and intense

In the event I am not the only one who remembers John, or indeed any other of the Middletons or the Harrisons, of the Chadderton and area please get in touch.

John Harrison Whixall, Shropshire…….

A GRAND DAY OUTWe all Know about the way messages get passed in remote parts of the world, more commonly known as the Bush Telegraph, well her in North Shropshire we have reinvented this form of communication and named it BUS TELEGRAPH — corny or what but what the dickens…. “corny r us”

Nellie Wiggins  who is not the most sturdy member of the human race and  has more years under her belt than HRH, called the booking line very early one morning.

She was locked in her house.  Could not make the doors budge – no how – no way

We think that this spell of baking weather had altered the doors and surrounding woodwork of her ancient country cottage and not being an Olympic weight lifter, Nellie was stuck inside

The landlords,  the local estate office was closed and we were unable to find any emergency call out number and so not being too comfortable with an elderly lady being unable to get outside we started to  think of calling around other member. Bare in mind it’s not yet 7 am and the first cuppa of the new day isn’t yet finished so it took a few moments for us to remember that Mabel lived next to the estate office

A call to Mabel soon revealed that Tom the estate repair man was just leaving his repair shed so Mabel, still in her nightie, scampered after him  – which probably made a wondrous sight down the lanes of Greater Sprocket in the Marsh and  anyway should Tom be so lucky — but moving on!!!

Within moments he was on his way to rescue our damsel in distress and by the time the bus arrived  to check on Nellie he had released her from her  weather imposed incarceration.

Can any one see the big bus companies having the capacity to handle that one

(Names changed to protect the sensibilities of the GDPR  hit squad)

A salutory tale of a poor experience at Manchester airport

I was unfortunate enough as to be the poor sap who had to pick some holiday makes up from Manchester airport Accordingly I thought to write to the management  because I have never been  anywhere that made me feel less welcome or gave so little help following a situation that was not of my making

I said

I don’t know who is responsible for making aeroplanes late, be it the pilots, the airlines or yours.

All I do know is it wasn’t mine. Before leaving base we looked on the internet and deliberately arrived late because of the potential delay fully expecting to see our “fares” ready and waiting and all we got was hassle  from your staff

There are places for taxis for buses and for coaches but none for the mini coaches which were put to considerable inconvenience because you lot in the airport industry cannot organise the proverbial drunken party in the brewery

I was not allowed to leave my bus even to organise my people so arranging  for someone to cover for me I ventured into the terminal and all I can say it was worse than Primark in the sales  People were wandering around like herds of sheep with no help or guidance  and no evidence of staff to help them.

If a terrorist had been there he would have had carte blanche and a field day

So quickly I rounded up my people and got away with as much haste as possible, never wishing to repeat the experience

I just wish you people could do your job properly, because if I was as bad as you I would be out of business I will post this on our social media sites and let the people of Shropshire know what a poorly managed and uncaring airport you run

It was almost as though the passengers were a necessary evil with which you had to contend

Scare mongering


So 75 Gzillion Turks are set to come to the UK are they?– or at least so someone said in the Shropshire Star a few days ago

And the Brexit mob say that the Stronger In lobby are scaremongering.

And what’s more its all my fault – because I believe that we’re better off remaining as we are.

Well aside from not really believing that the ravening hoards of Osman the First are all all set to reincarnate the Ottoman Empire, on this green and sceptred isle, I refuse to be scared by all the other predictions of what might be, because, lets face it no one knows for sure, we’ve not been there before, Its a bit like predicting the weather, and we know how often the weather men get that absolutely right don’t we.

Being a member of the European Community is just like being a member of any club or organisation, and who can say that they have been content with every facet of every club that they have joined during a life time. But usually we don’t run off, like spoilt children, just because the going get tough

Recently, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said “The European Union has lost its attractiveness because it meddles too much in people’s lives”

The most senior bureaucrat in Brussels admitted such, so there’s the clue.

Do we really need to come out of this club?

Or is it more important that what we need is people with gravitas, with the bottle to be strong, politicians who are tough and can bring pressure to bear to reform this broken community, not lilly livered sensationalists like Boris Johnson?

I happen to think that a large payment as club membership, some minor concession to our sovereignty, or even, Lord forbid, some concession to sustainable immigration, is well worth it to reap the benefits of all the things that the Brexit mob choose gloss over

There are so many consideration other than the economy and immigration but at this time I raise the issue of the risks to the environment which are likely to become a genuine reality if we come out. I think particularly to the health of our bees, and whilst I would prefer fact, if scaremongering pushes your buttons then consider this.

Neonicotinoids were hailed as safe and effective, a scenario that the Cameron environmentalists seek to promulgate. But neonicotinoids are poisons and far from benign and can cause harm to not only our bees but vulnerable young humans alike

The ministers of the EU stood up and supported a moratorium on the use of such poisons, whilst the UK environment department did not and throughout this debate maintain that use of poison on the fields of the United kingdom is quiet acceptable

As long as we have this country is ruled by ideological right wing politicians the underprivileged will remain so and consequently I would contends that we should vote to stay in the EU, if for no other reason than to ensure the safety that tiny, but most important, of all our creatures

If not, in a campaign where the ability to use deception and intrigue, supersedes probity as well as factual informed debate, there is a distinct possibility that those who study the poetry of Rupert Brook may choose not to forget “The lies, and truths, and pain?” . And ask, instead “as yet stands the Church clock at ten to three? And is there honey still for tea?”

written by Friend and member Keith Wood, please give him due credit even tho’ it is forwarded by me John Harrison The Bungalow Post office lane Whixall with who Mr Wood stays on his visits

Compliments of the season to you

I went back home to Manchester on the Monday before Christmas. I go there not just because it is the place where I was raised, but because transport in my home area is a disgrace and Manchester is more accessible However I imagine that most major conurbations will experience a similar problems to the one I shall relatehomeless open

It was a typical day in the “Rainy City”
As I hurried along the wet streets with the cold wind whipping round my trouser turn-ups I was so saddened , by the sights of heaps wet bedding covering those individuals who found themselves in situations of abject desperation, many of them taking what shelter they could find in the doorways of empty premises

Not all those occupants in the doorways were drunks, druggies or merely down and outs, by choice, some were ex service men who had given their all in wars, (not all of which were legal) so that we could be free from those who seek to oppress us and perpetrate their evil intentions from far off bases, currently situated in the middle east

I’ve been around the block a time or two and am far from naïve. I do realise that many seek what comfort they can in the bottom of a bottle, but am convinced that the alcoholism is a symptom of despair, not the cause. I am not sure what I, or any of my well heeled friend, would do if they suddenly found themselves cast out and abandoned because of the action of someone with the single minded purpose of “getting the deficit down”

No one would dispute that as a nation we spend too much but how much would it cost to open up disused buildings to help those who suffer because of the horrors they may have experienced defending of our freedom, or even those people, who because our administrations are so heartless, consider some of our people as an expendable consequence of making narrow minded policy decisions work

There have always been tramps, those individuals who, by choice, live on the fringe of society. However it now goes deeper. As a boy in the 50’s I remember well abandoned ex servicemen on Tommyfied Market in Oldham scratching a meagre living by selling matches from a tray which dangled on a string round the neck of the vendor. I remember one man, in particular, who being without legs, had to scoot himself along on a home made trolley with nothing but rags to protect his hands.

It made me sad then and it makes me sad now, to know that so little has changed in over half a century.

I will conclude by saying that I know the problems don’t end with homelessness. People sleeping rough is just the worst of it. If your only crime is not to be well off then then the UK is currently an unwelcoming place to you

So by choice this year I will set any personal culinary indulgences or joyful celebrations aside because I do not believe this society in 2015 has a whole lot to celebrate

I work in our community my views are not necessarily shared by my colleagues but if you have need of transport services you should follow the link below




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On Wednesday November 25, in his Autumn Statement: the chancellor George Osborne promised to overhaul “what the state does and how it does it”.

While the chancellor did not outline any dramatic contraction in the overall reach of the state in his Autumn Statement, he signalled a big shift in the responsibility for delivering and financing public services. Formal devolution of powers to cities and counties, and new revenue raising latitude for local councils, will help to distance Westminster from some of the tougher decisions inherent in another five years of austerity

So boiling that mumbo jumbo down to basics, they want local politicians to appear the big bad guys, whilst remaining the squeaky clean party of the centre ground

Some years ago Theresa May in her address as party Chairman said the Conservatives had to ditch their image s the “Nasty Party” if the wanted to attract the illusive centre ground

No matter how much they try to be goody two shoes they will never make it, when, On Thursday 26 November, less than 24hours after Wee Georgy went prattling on about devolution, they announce that the decision over whether fracking will be allowed to take place in Lancashire will be made by the Secretary of State, after the Government stepped in following the appeal by energy firm Cuadrilla against councillors’ decision to refuse bids to drill and test frack at sites at Little Plumpton off Preston New Road and at Roseacre

So much for devolution, the will of the people or even and that big shift in the responsibility.

Probably best if the “ biggest shift” goes in the direction of honesty and integrity, before even attempting to shift anything else

As it stands the score thus far is Cuadrilla 1; devolution and democracy 0

I think It was a native American chief who first used the expression “white man speak with forked tongue, and hence I doubt there will be much centre ground given over in Lancashire.

Funding & The Future of a Rural Bus Service
The Plight Of The Rural Non Driver
An hour long train journey from our base in North Shropshire, took me on Monday morning into Manchester.metro minutes 6
From the station there are shuttle buses, free to all, to any part of the city, the frequency of which will be a revelation to those rural residents from my part of Shropshire who are unable to hop on a bus, with or without a bus pass, and cannot even use that free bus pass on the park and ride service around Shrewsbury.
Although we have an MP who is part of this Government the needs of the villagers are not being met. If it doesn’t fit within the view presently held of “Austerity” then it can be ignored, and believe me you the villagers of North Shropshire are being ignored. We pay to live here like anyone in a town and if you live in any of the towns there are buses, but out in the villages there is only the Wheelers voluntary run buses, currently weekly for most, apart from the lucky few who live on the periphery of our routes and that cannot be not right by any stretch of the imagination
At the LJC meeting last week Counsellor Mullock raised the issue of the devolution of maternity and some children’s service to Telford and that is despite being no direct link from North Shropshire.
It is unclear which bright spark thought it was a good idea to send expectant mothers (see appendix 1) on a cross county “safari” from North Shropshire villages to Telford, a town which is not served by any form of direct public transport. However the fact remains, that no matter how unfairly the rural dweller is treated, that unfairness is unlikely to change while this climates of Austerity” remains
The right and wrongs of that are obvious and need no pontification from me, but suffice to say that is how it is and we’re stuck with it for the foreseeable.
On a more positive note. We have buses for all eventualities and there is a bus fuelled and ready to go and sat at our yard, but for want of a driver. This is a hazard of relying on a voluntarily service; no volunteer driver , no service .So here’s the challenge to all readers . — Find me a driver and you’ have a bus service – and that is to anywhere not only based medical need
NS Wheelers is desperate for help, to run new and keep existing services going. All our staff are getting older and cannot go on indefinitely. So please come forward and help. Help in anyway you can, 1 hour, I day, 1 week, 1 month, it does not matter, all contributions of help will be gratefully received. The booking line is the number to call for all enquiries 01948880037